Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Harry at Almost 22 Months

I love Harry's current age. Yeah, there are tantrums, but they are definitely made up for with the cuteness of the rest. I don't want to forget the things I love so much at this age:
  • He sings. A lot. One day he wasn't ready for his nap at nap time but I was, so he hung out in his crib singing Old MacDonald and Baa Baa Black Sheep for a while before he fell asleep. He also knows Twinkle Twinkle and the ABCs well enough to sing alone, and many others to sing along with someone else, often coming in for the end of each phrase. He also enjoys humming to himself, which we sometimes hear from the backseat or over the monitor.
  • His version of the ABCs used to have "Elmo Pee" in the middle. Now it has "Elbow P." It also ends with "Why, oh me" before moving into the "Now I know my ABCs" part, which itself ends with "Nex tie so so sing with me." The cuteness is beyond compare.
  • He has memorized many of his favorite books and loves to "read" along.
  • Because P and I only really drink water and soda, and he only drinks milk or water, he thinks most drinks are cokes (or diet cokes), including beer.
  • He has a bit of a hitting problem, which he learned from a kid at daycare, which sucks. (That part is not a thing I love about this age -- the hitting or the mimicking of everything he sees or hears, whether good or bad.) We have been trying to be incredibly consistent when it comes to discipline, which seems to be the best strategy. Timeouts didn't work -- he thought they were fun and would shout "timeout!" and go sit in the corner, even when he hadn't been put in timeout. So instead we say "Hands are for hugging" and make him apologize to whomever he hit, which does seem to be working. (Note that his hits aren't hard, mostly just annoying, and are usually done for attention or in excitement, but we want to discourage it.) When we say to him, "What are hands for?" He responds with "huggin'" and goes and "hugs" the hittee. His version of hugs involves resting his head on the chest of the huggee and letting them hug him :)
  • He is a real ham, always performing for his audience, once he is comfortable with them. He says "cheese" and flashed a goofy grin when a camera is pointed in his general direction (though he thinks a camera is in fact called a "cheese").
  • When in a public place, he likes to greet everyone there, saying hi and often shaking hands. This makes restaurant dining easy -- we just have to be sure he's facing other tables so that he can work his charm and let them keep him occupied :) We did a park cleanup before Josie was born (Harry loves to pick up trash), and the mayor came to thank people for their service. He shook my hand and Ps, at which point Harry held his out, like "what, am I not good enough for you?" The mayor thought it was quite funny. When we were at a pool over the weekend, he said bye to everyone as we left, acting like the pope of chili town. He's a regular politician.
  • He does, however, take a while to warm up to new people, at least some of the time. As a result, one of us occasionally has a toddler glued to the front of our legs while he surveys the crowd. If he gets really overwhelmed, he whimpers "up or down" -- we have tried explaining that he just wants up, but after months of "up or down," this is proving hard to break.
  • When one of his daycare friends went on vacation, the teacher pointed to a plane and told all the kids to wave and say bye to her. For weeks now, every time we see a plane Harry has smiled and shouted "Bye Ally!!!" at the top of his lungs. The other kids have long forgotten, but not Harry. His teacher seriously regrets that one.
  • When both kids are in the backseat, and Josie cries, Harry feels the need to point it out, just in case we can't hear her. "Josie cryin'" is a frequent refrain heard from the peanut gallery, usually said in a very sad voice. It makes me sad that it makes him sad to hear her cry, but I love that he feels that kind of sympathy for his sister and her sadness at the torment that is riding in the car to pick up her brother at daycare (having to do pick up during her witching hour is a disaster -- ugh). I usually ask Harry to sing her a song to make her feel better. He says ok, but then rejects every suggestion for what he should sing. It almost always ends with me asking him if he wants me to sing "Do-Re-Mi," and the answer is always yes. I have sung a lot of Do Re Mi lately.
  • He loves to be helpful, especially in the yard. He is a fan of watering the flowers and of mowing the lawn (with the mower off, though P sees big potential in this one down the road). He has his own watering can.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Josie: One Month

My dear Josiebean,

After only three or so hours of labor, you made it clear that you were done; you wanted out -- now. When a dropping heartrate didn't get enough attention, you resorted to kicking your way out. It was quickly noted by the medical team that you were one very opinionated baby. That observation was repeated when you were born, and again when we were in the post-partum unit. And it's proven true -- you don't hesitate to let you dad and I (and anyone else in earshot) know that you have needs and that they aren't being met. The problem, of course, is that we don't really know what it is that you need. We need to work on the nuances of our communication, it seems.

I would suggest that there are a limited number of options, that we only have to try a small set of options to ensure your needs are met, but we have found that even when your obvious needs are met, you still aren't happy. You cry a lot. Or, more accurately states, you scream a lot. We adore you, but certainly wouldn't complain if here were less yelling. It gets exhausting. And I assume that it is exhausting for you too. I wish we knew how to make you happier. For now, we're just hoping you outgrow it.

Speaking of outgrowing things, you are a big little girl. At three weeks, you were already ten pounds. I suspect you will be outgrowing clothes quickly, unike your brother who wore some of his 0-3 clothes until he was 4.5 months. And when it comes to clothing, I swore I wasn't the type of person who would dress a little girl in all pink, but it turns out that the fact that people assume you're a boy because you aren't in pink does bother me, even though it horrifies me to admit it. So you, in fact, wear a lot of pink. Maybe when you have more hair, or it's cool enough to put more than one article of clothing on you at a time so that we can use a single pink item to demarcate, we'll start dressing you in less girlie clothing, but for now, you're in a lot of pink. Sorry about that.

And I really do hope that it cools off soon -- it has been an unbearably hot start to the summer. I don't ever remember a summer this consistently hot. And you, like your dad, your brother, and me, sweat. A lot. We have to change your clothes a lot. And you have to sleep in our room at night, as we do not have central air and our electric can only handle two a/cs on the second floor. So, for now, you sleep in the swing in our room. Because you have made clear that you will only sleep when in motion or when held, and I just can't hold you all night, as much as you wish that I could. Sorry. At some point, we know we'll need to figure out how to break you of this habit -- I don't want you to develop insomnia as a teenager when you no longer fit in the swing and no one is willing to drive you around while you sleep anymore. Until we come up with a strategy, though, the swing it is, as we all need to get some sleep (and a break from the screaming).

Despite the yelling, everyone here loves you very much. Your brother loves to give you hugs and kisses -- I'm sorry if it's more hugs and kisses than you would choose. The first thing he said when he met you was "Baby, kiss," followed, naturally, by a kiss. I can't blame him -- I love to give you kisses and hugs too. As does Buddy. You are a very well-kissed child. Thankfully, you seem to like the kissing :)

We love you very much,


Friday, June 25, 2010


They say it is darkest before dawn. Every night I hope and pray that the previous night was that darkest hour, but every morning dawn comes and I've only managed to accumulate a total of 2, 3, 4 hours of sleep and I know I've got a day to survive and more nights ahead of me.

Each night is a little worse than the one that came before it. I have begun to feel detached -- from myself, from my spouse, from my child. I look at her and know I should feel an overpowering love but instead feel frustration and dread, especially between the hours of 8pm and 8am. I would suggest post-partum depression, but it's clearly sleep deprivation, and taking an anti-depressant isn't going to do anything to fix the fact that my child has gone back to only sleeping when held, and only when held by me. (We thought we had fixed the problem, but it's gotten much, much worse, and my back hurts so much I can no longer sleep in the chair while she sleeps.) She usually gives me one 2-3 hour stretch of nighttime sleep not on me, but you never know when it will come, so I usually spend most of it anxious, awaiting the sounds of her stirring.

I would say I'm nearing a breaking point, but I think whatever that point was has passed already. Somehow, when morning comes, I manage to pull it together and put on my big girl underwear and go about my day. Then nighttime comes, and I feel shattered and cracked again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Post-Partum Thoughts

A few thoughts on these early days with a second child:
  • Despite leaving the hospital a day earlier, I was given a shorter course of pain meds. So I'll run out of percocet at six/seven days post-partum, whereas I still had some left when I stopped taking it at seven or eight days post-partum last time. I hope the pain by the inner right side of my pelvic bone has subsided by then, because it's pretty fierce now.
  • Josie will only sleep on me. (She falls asleep, I put her down, and she wakes up within minutes of being put down and cries inconsolably.) I'm sure this will pass, and I like the snuggle time, but I'm not comfortable with co-sleeping (not in a judgmental/I-care-what-others-do way but in a I-know-it's-not-for-me way), so sleep is generally gotten while sitting up in a chair right now. Needless to say, I'm tired.
  • I miss Harry. I miss picking him up. I miss reading to him at bedtime (the only seat in his room is too high for me to get safely on and off right now). I miss actively playing with him. I miss him. Yesterday I cried a little when we snuggled while reading books and watching "mi mi mi" on my laptop in the living room. I know that a sibling is a great gift to him as well as to our family, but I already miss having special time with him, which is hard right now, post-c-section. It saddens me that he'll never remember the time when it was just the three of us, time that was so wonderful and amazing for me. My hormones are definitely readjusting right now, and I'm finding this aspect of parenthood to be incredibly difficult this time around.
  • On the flip side, I love that he calls Josie "Baby sister" (or Josie) and wants to give her a kiss all the time. And point out her body parts. I hope they develop a special relationship as they get older.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Josie's Birth Story

For me, the story of Harry's birth has always been tinged with regret. Although the outcome (Harry, my most beloved son) was perfect, I can't shake the feeling that something could or should have been different, that I could or should have done something different, that he needn't have come into the world the way he did, purple-faced through a surgical incision. Could I have done a better job in early labor of changing positions, spending more time on hands and knees or leaned over a birthing ball or over a bed in order to rotate him from the posterior position he was in? Should I have walked more in early labor? Spent more time in the tub? Gone home when an early exam showed I wasn't making much progress? Waited longer before consenting to a cesarean to give my body and my son more time to prepare? I have always wondered whether the story was really Harry's birth story or whether in fact it was my story, the story of how I birthed my son.

Josie's story, on the other hand, was and remains quite clearly her own. And this is the story of how she was born.

Monday was the holiday. We took Harry to the farm to see the animals in the morning, figuring that walking around might get things going. I had been at 1cm and 75% effaced at my appointment a week earlier and hoped it wouldn't be too much longer, as my hospital will not induce a woman who has had a prior cesarean, so I had to go into labor naturally or would be required to have another. After the farm, we went to the local pan-Asian restaurant we went to the day before Harry was born. Because it was a holiday, I couldn't get the same bento box lunch special, but I did my best to replicate it. I had started having intermittent but very irregular contractions after we left the farm, but they never really organized. I would have 6 or 7 in an hour, then none, then a few more. By night, they seemed to have stopped. They started up again in the morning, probably around 7 or 7:30, but they were still weak and disorganized. But I had been having a ton of discharge overnight and that morning and had the feeling Tuesday would be the day, or at least the start. When P left for work, I told him to try to get as much done as he could in the morning, as I might need him by afternoon.

I got Harry to daycare around 8:30 and stopped at Dunkin Donuts on my way home. By the time I got home at 8:50, I realized the contractions were more painful, coming every five minutes and lasting close to a minute. That phase of labor with Harry had lasted so long, though, that I figured things would stay like that for a while, so I went to go lie down for a bit to listen to a Hypnobabies track and drink some water and decide what to do next. I never did eat that donut.

The contractions kept getting stronger, so at 9:10, I decided to get into the tub on my hands and knees and let the water flow over my back for a bit. By 9:21, they were 3-4 minutes apart and quite strong and I started to get a little nervous about being alone for the day. Or even just the next hour or two. I got out of the tub but couldn't even manage to get dressed. I lay on my bed, wet and naked, listening to more Hypnobabies. By 9:38, the contractions were 3 minutes apart and I called P to tell him that I needed him to come home, that I couldn't do it on my own. He said he was on his way. I wrestled my way into underwear and a shirt, hanging over the side of the hamper moaning as yet another contraction came, and gave up on getting any more clothing on.

When 10 rolled around and P wasn't home yet but the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, I knew it was time to call the doctor's office. I was told I should come in to the office first to be checked. This seemed like a bad plan, but I wasn't in a position to argue so I didn't. As I was hanging up, P got home.

P then scrambled to grab the things that hadn't made their way into the bag yet. I guess I thought we'd have more time. From the time we had that "today is the day" feeling until we left for the hospital, eight hours passed with Harry. This time, it was less than 2 hours, and I couldn't put on pants in that period, much less pack a bag. We were at the hospital before we realized we had forgotten the camera. At some point, it was pretty obvious that going to the doctor's office first was a terrible plan. P called and told them we were going straight to the hospital.

Easier said than done. Even though it was after morning rush hour and there was no Red Sox game, something had traffic all stopped up. P tried to find an alternate route but there was traffic everywhere. I felt every bump and every pothole in the road and found it very tough to release and relax during or even between contractions. I couldn't lean my seat back because of the carseat behind it. I clung to the handle above the door as though doing so could slow everything down or somehow speed the car up. Eventually, my hand grew numb but I still held on.

When we finally arrived at the hospital, we had to decide whether P would drop me off then park the car or park and go in together. Neither was acceptable to me -- I knew I couldn't walk in from the garage but also refused to go in alone. The guard said we could leave the car if P moved it within five minutes. I barely made it through the door before another contraction hit. Someone brought a much appreciated wheelchair and I became one of those women who had to be wheeled to L&D. After what felt like a long wait at the admissions desk in L&D (four contractions, I think), we were able to bypass triage and go straight to a room. I was checked and was only at 4cm, which seemed shocking, given how strong the contractions were. But it was still only a little past 11am.

The doctor came when P was moving the car and remarked that the monitor seemed to be picking up my heart-rate periodically and that they'd need to adjust it and keep it on a little longer. She then checked my pulse and realized it wasn't mine, that the baby's was dropping with each contraction. Because I had just gotten there and it was a bit soon to call it a pattern, she said we had a few options: (1) wait and see; (2) wait and see but also order an ultrasound to see if we could tell what was causing the decels; or (3) break my waters and attach an internal monitor to the baby's scalp to permit closer monitoring. She noted that waiting now could reduce available options later, but I wasn't comfortable with (3), so I opted to wait. She said they'd check my progress again in an hour.

The decels continued but were getting worse. The baby's heart-rate was dropping from the 150s to the 50s with each contraction, but the contractions were so close together it couldn't rebound. It had only been forty-five minutes, but the doctor made clear that breaking my waters to permit more consistent monitoring was the least invasive option that she could recommend at that time, and I didn't question that at all. Some time before noon, my waters were broken. I had dilated to a 7.

Within fifteen minutes, the nurse could feel the baby's feet on the top of my uterus trying to push down and out. And I couldn't keep myself from pushing involuntarily even though I wasn't fully dilated (nor did the nurses or doctors, of whom there were many in the room by this point, encourage me to stop). But the baby was posterior and dilation was slowing from its extremely rapid pace and the heart-rate continued to drop with each contraction. There were concerns regarding uterine rupture and that the cord might be wrapped around the baby's neck. Regardless of the reason for the decels, everyone in the room felt the baby needed to come out immediately, myself included. There was just no way to know how much longer it would be before I was at 10cm and ready to get the baby out or how much more the little heart could handle.

The anesthesiologist was called in, and they did verbal consents for a spinal and for the c-section as they wheeled me to an OR, lacking time for written. It was a little scary, but, unlike with Harry, it felt like the right choice -- the only safe choice. It took three or four tries to get the spinal in (and I was still having contractions every two minutes, which made it really tough for me to arch my back for insertion). But once it was in and the pain let up, I realized I was far more okay with the outcome than I'd been the last time. I wasn't shaking or crying. I didn't need anti-anxiety meds. I just wanted to get it over with. The time from deciding to have the c-section until the surgery began (honestly, probably close to 45 minutes) felt like the longest part of labor.

The surgery began just before 1, and at 1:16 P got to stand and announce that we had a girl. They let me give her a kiss before wiping her down and let P participate in a lot more of the post-delivery process than he had previously. And I got to carry her with me when we went to recovery. On the whole, not the birth story I had wanted, but it was the story of how Josie was born.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Bad and the Good

The bad. I haven't posted in a while in large part because my grandfather has been dying. I wrote a bunch of posts about it -- posts about him, about my aunt, about our final visit to say goodbye -- but never felt like any of them was complete or really said what I wanted to say, so they remain drafts. My family made the decision to withdraw life support last Monday (the 24th). He passed away this past Sunday morning. I loved him dearly, and he will be greatly missed. I am especially sad that we will miss the funeral, though I am not sad about why. Speaking of which...

On to the good. And it's great. P and I have a daughter! J0sephine M@rie M. was born yesterday (June 1) at 1:16pm. She was 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 inches long. I didn't end up with the VBAC I wanted, but I did end up with a very healthy and very lovely little girl in the end, which is all I could have hoped for. I will probably post her birth story tomorrow. A preview: I dropped Harry at daycare at 8:30, stopping at Dunkin Donuts on the way home. When I got home, I realized I was having contractions 5 minutes apart. By 10:15, I was getting ready to head to the hospital. Between 11 and 11:45, I dilated from a 4 to a 7. By 12:30, it was clear that she couldn't handle a labor that fast and hard and we needed to get her out immediately. We did. No regrets.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


For some reason, coming up with a name is much harder this time than it was last time. Or maybe it was equally hard last time and I've just blocked it out. (Apparently, the latter.) Either way, we're past the 34 week point and still haven't really made any progress on names. Well, we did sit down this weekend with our spreadsheet* from last time, with popularity data updated and prior grades and notes removed, as well as some names added, and then we regraded and rediscussed. But I am not feeling at all settled in our rankings, and certainly don't feel as though those rankings represent our selections. Or at least mine.

I think for me, the main issue is that of significance. Harry's name has meaning to me. And we have a few more boy name choices that have some significance (three of our top four, in fact), though my top pick among them isn't Ps. But we can't get there with girl names. (And we are waiting until birth to find out what we're having again.) In part, this derives from the fact that many of the women in our family have had names that are decidedly unfashionable today, and I just couldn't saddle a baby with one of them. The names of our combined grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and sisters of our grandparents and great-grandparents are: Edna, Esther, Wilma, Mildred (x2), Helen (x5), Marie, Blanche, Adelaide, Emma, Clara (x2), Florence (x3), Meta (pronounced MEE-ta), Wilhemina (x2), Anna (x2), Mary (x3), Margaret, Magdalena, Elizabeth, Theresa, Lucile, Edith, Almira, Maude, Ida, Joyce, Eva, Ruby, Lillie, Effie, Bessie, Gertrude, Cecelia, Marian, Agnes, Althea (with the number in parantheses noting when that name was used more than once, and the order generally reflecting their proximity (i.e. grandparents, then great-grandparents, then siblings)). I tried going back another generation, but mainly got another set of Marys, along with a few names we'd never use because they really don't work with our last name.

The second problem is that using family names is wholly unimportant to P. I think he'd prefer not to use a family name. Which just doesn't work for me. But it looks increasingly like it will be the case, as only one or two of those names got an even remotely positive reaction from him.** This kills me. But I can't just override his preferences, as much as I may sometimes want to.

In all honesty, I think it kills me in part because of the fact that Harry's name does have this connection with the past. When people ask our kids why they got their names, I hate that one will be able to give a lengthy explication while the other will only be able to say that their name was one of the few that one or both of their parents didn't dislike. No "it has this great family history" or "it has an awesome meaning" or "it's the name of a favorite character in a much loved book." And that makes me sad. And makes me hope we have a boy for this reason alone.

* Did I mention the spreadsheet last time? I got sick of feeling like his principle contribution was the veto of every name I suggested, so I decided we would each make lists. I then combined our lists into a spreadsheet and, for each name, added potential nicknames, popularity ranking, and meaning. We then went through the list and came up with a combined grade for each name on a 1-5 scale and made notes on the name, also adding possible middle names. We then resorted by grade. It was incredibly geeky, but incredibly helpful.

** Note that some don't work because of our last name -- pretty much any name ending with M or any name that is two syllables and ends with A is out. And some of the above are actually funny with our last name (for those who know our last name, Emma is probably the funniest of the above choices, though Uma is definitely the most comic overall). The best choices tend to be longer names. Also, we are nickname people, so if the name doesn't lend itself to some kind of tolerable nickname, it becomes much tougher for us to imagine using.

Monday, April 19, 2010

PTL (Not Me)

Our friend who is due with twins (two girls!) in June has been having a rough pregnancy. Terrible morning sickness was followed by a strange problem with her back causing pain to radiate throughout her torso. When that finally got under control, the Braxton Hicks began, landing her in the hospital a few times. Over the past week, they have become painful, and an ultrasound showed that her cervix had shortened significantly, so she was put on bedrest.

Her first day of bedrest, the contractions increased in frequency, and she was admitted to the hospital. After steroid injections and a drug to stop the contractions (neither mag nor terbutaline -- because I wasn't familiar with it, I have forgotten what it was), the contractions stopped and she was moved from L&D to an observation floor. She was supposed to come home yesterday, but still wasn't home when I last checked in earlier today.

If you could keep her in your thoughts, I'd appreciate it. And if anyone has any suggestions for she and her husband with respect to getting through a month or more of bedrest, send them my way and I'll pass them on. (And to the one of you who knows her, I'm not sure how public she has been with this info, so please don't mention it unless she has mentioned it to you.) Thanks!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Joneses

Friends of ours bought a new home last fall. They knew the market was bad and that they wouldn't be able to sell their old one for anything approximating what they felt it was worth, so they rent it out for approximately what they pay on the mortgage each month. Between their two homes, they own approximately three times as much house as we do, property-value-wise (space-wise, it's more like two times, and I don't have a clue regarding equity). I have no idea what these friends earn, but I don't imagine that it's significantly more than what we do.

Other friends of ours are currently looking to buy a new home (they currently have a condo). The places they are looking at are definitely out of our price range by a reasonable margin (not that we're looking -- I'm pretty sure we're underwater on our mortgage as it is). And they, combined, earn quite a bit less than we do.

I don't feel like we spend frivolously (but maybe we do?) or do anything crazy as far as finances go. Our debts are limited to 1. mortgage 2. student loans from law school (not huge) and 3. car loan (also not huge). For assets, we have our house, two cars (one paid for, the other worth far more than we owe on it), several retirement accounts (I think P has two from his current job, plus an older one, and I have one from my current job, plus an older one), a brokerage account, Harry's college fund, and our basic bank accounts. In the balance, we have a decent net worth, despite the craptastic economy and its effect on our home value and our various retirement and brokerage accounts. Yet somehow it feels like other people in our same geographic area (and therefore with a similar cost of living) seem to be able to stretch their money further. Part of it, I'm sure, is my uncertainty regarding my future job situation -- I feel like we have to maintain a reasonable savings level in order to ensure we can get by when I lose my job. But the rest of it? I have no idea.

Having had the realization that others seem to live better on less (and, yes, I recognize that it's a "seem to" issue), I signed up for in order to better track our finances, though it's a bit tough since P and I still (after nearly five years of marriage) haven't merged our accounts, so it really just reflects my finances right now (though I do earn 75-80% of our household income and am responsible for most of our expenses). I have also started pulling together a binder of important financial info, containing current statements from all our various accounts and copies of insurance policies, etc., both so we have a comprehensive record of everything should anything happen to one or both of us and so that we can begin to evaluate where we stand. To that end, I think we need to consult a financial planner. I need someone else to look over our stuff and tell me where we're going wrong (or tell me that we're not). I've started formulating my list of questions, but am not entirely sure where to begin. (I'm open to advice on that subject.)

Does anyone else ever feel like they missed some important day at school in which planning for the future and figuring out how to manage one's financial affairs was covered? Or is it just me?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Might Have Been

I often have subscribed to the semi-magical belief that the body into which your soul was placed was just too imperfect, or perhaps your soul was just not ready, but that you would come to me, to my life, on some later date. So the you that might have been wasn't really lost. But, as for me, I'm pretty sure that me really was.

Perhaps this is callous to acknowledge on your unbirthday, but I often suspect that I mourn more the me that might have been had you not left what you knew of this earth too soon than I do you. Among other things, for this I am sorry.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers

It's Friday, so it's time to join Danifred for some leftovers.
  • Every week or two, Harry decides to switch up what books must be read before bed. After a few weeks of A Cat and A Dog and Bear Wants More, we are now on Bear's New Friend and The Little Engine That Could. Multiple reads of each, of course. I love that he knows parts of Bear's New Friend, though. Right before the two eyes peek-a-boo, he covers his eyes. And then he says "hi," as he knows it's what Bear says next. Finally, he pretends to splash when the animals are swimming. It's amazing to watch him as he learns and remembers things.
  • I am trying to do the Hypnobabies Home Study course, but am finding it very hard to find time to listen to multiple tracks on CD/iPod every day. It ends up being about an hour a day and would be more if I started listening to the VBAC tracks, which I know I need to do at some point.
  • There's some secret benefactor out there who just wants to give us a Bumbleride Indie Twin, right? I think that's what we've settled on. The perfect one popped up on Craigslist (brand new, 2010 model, for $300 off the list price) but I wasn't fast enough :( Damn.
  • Yesterday's Cake Wrecks was awesome. And so gross. Soooo gross.
  • I'm taking today off work and trying to get some things done while Harry is in daycare. Thus far, I've got Harry some new short-sleeved white onesies, as he has outgrown most of the ones he has and I like to use them as undershirts for him, and some light-weight footie pajamas, as well as a raincoat. I also finished painting the trim in Harry's BBR and wiped down the walls. Slowly making a dent in the list. I also went to church, since it's Good Friday and all.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How Much Can One Couple Accomplish in Nine Weeks

For the past several weeks, it's been weighing on me how much we have to do and how little time we have in which to do it, both on a daily basis and on a more global oh-my-word-this-child-is-due-in-nine-weeks basis. (Speaking of which, the reality of having a second child hasn't sunk in at all. At all. I can recognize that I'm pregnant, but that there will be a baby at the end? Lost on me.)

I sat down this weekend to put together a to-do list. By the time I was done, it was three pages long. Three damn pages. I think seeing its length, plus having it broken into discrete tasks (with the validating feeling one gets from checking items off a list) has spurred us both into action.

The list includes, but is not limited to:
  • Finish painting trim of Harry's big boy room (BBR)*
  • Clean walls and floors of BBR
  • Remove all tools, etc., from BBR**
  • Paint furniture (dresser, bed, trunk, bookcase, desk, chair) for BBR***
  • Buy a second crib
  • Buy a second crib mattress
  • Assemble crib
  • Buy bedding/decor for BBR and decorate room
  • Clean out closet of BBR
  • Put foam tiles back on floor of playroom (we took them up when the basement flooded two weeks ago)
  • Acquire double stroller
  • Get all of Harry's clothes and cloth diapers out of the nursery and into his BBR
  • Get all 0-3 clothes from attic and make sure they're clean, then put away anything neutral enough to use regardless of what we have
  • Get all newborn cloth diapers from attic and make sure they're clean, then put them away
  • Get bouncy seat and swing out and find a place for them
  • Wash playmat and set it up in playroom
  • Reinstall carseat base for infant seat
  • At least pretend to have some sort of conversation about names for this child
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Come up with a firmer plan for Harry for when we go to the hospital (plan is currently "call MIL")
  • Get a second carseat for MIL's car (which will move to our second car when we're all home from the hospital)
  • Clean out freezer
  • Make freezer meals

And then there are the things that need to get done and would ideally get done before we become a family of four, but which are not 100% critical:

  • Finish patio (yes, this was on the pre-Harry list too)
  • Get estimates and hire electrician (also on pre-Harry list)
  • Put up fence
  • Purge crap from entire house
  • Organize house once less cluttered
  • Hire a new cleaner
  • Organize our finances
  • Develop some kind of estate plan
  • Find and meet with a financial planner

Possible? Maybe. But not likely (way to be optimistic, huh?). There just aren't enough hours in the day/week/month to work full time, take care of Harry (and Buddy, who really needs his nails trimmed and needs a vet tech appointment for one shot or another), sleep, and do everything on the list, while also not getting burned out. I am burned out just thinking about it.

* Harry will be moving into a big boy room (but staying in a crib) before the new baby arrives so that the new baby can move into the nursery. The nursery is just too small for Harry to stay in once long-term, so we're going to try to make the transition now.

** The BBR was the guest room and needed its ceiling replaced, which P and his mother's husband did at Christmas time. Yet the tools remained, and the painting (while mostly done) wasn't finished).

*** Harry is inheriting all of my childhood furniture. It's in decent shape, but is ugly -- thankfully in ways that can be fixed by paint, we hope.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yet Another Reason I'm Not A Fan of My Job

Warning: This is long and filled with TMI, most of which involves vomit. And some swearing.

Last Tuesday, I was stuck at work late, as I had been Monday. P called to say that Harry was throwing up at dinner. A lot. More than once. And kept throwing up while P tried to get him cleaned up, including on P, and kept throwing up once they were both stripped down, and kept throwing up in the tub. Once he fell asleep, though, he was fine. He threw up again when P was giving him breakfast on Wednesday (I had to be at work early, so I missed breakfast), so they both stayed home, as it was obvious at that point that it wasn't something he had eaten the day before. After breakfast, he seemed fine, though.

I got home from work at midnight or so on Wednesday and went to bed. I woke up at 3:30 with bad stomach pain. I convinced myself it was stress, but by 4:15 or so, it was obvious that I had caught Harry's stomach bug. By 5 or so, it was obvious P had too. We dropped Harry off at daycare (he hadn't thrown up in more than 24 hours and seemed fine), then P dropped me off at my 30 week OB appointment and went home to go back to bed. The midwife was concerned about dehydration leading to preterm labor and told me I had to come back the following morning for an IV evaluation if I still couldn't keep anything down. She also said to focus on liquids and not try to eat.

The reason P dropped me off and left? I *had* to work that day, as I had a brief that had to be filed. So I kept my trash can close to my desk (I feel really bad for the cleaning person -- I told her not to empty it, that I'd do it myself, but she came by when I was away from my desk for a minute and emptied it -- yuck) and kept my door closed all day, occasionally lying on the floor and moaning in agony and crying for much of the day. Meanwhile, both partners on the case hopped on a plane midafternoon to DC, asking me to fax them drafts to review in their hotels (not the same hotel, of course, because that would be too easy). And the only other associate on the case, a first year, blew me off all day, starting at 5 the task I asked her to have done by close of business. You know, by 5. Note that each of these people knew I was sick. I tried to spare them the details, but I think I was clear enough to indicate how sick I was. In the end, though, I didn't get home until almost midnight. It was honestly one of the least pleasant work days I've ever had. I cried *a lot*.

Thankfully, because the brief had been filed, I decided I would stay home on Friday and try to recuperate. Maybe nap. Catch up on a few things that desperately needed to be done around the house but never get done because there's never a time when we aren't watching Harry or at work or when Harry isn't sleeping and these things are too loud to do then. Start doing some of the Hypnobabies home study course that I told myself I'd start six weeks ago as I hope and prepare for a better birth experience this time around. Maybe watch a little TV.

Sadly, that was not to be. At 6-something on Friday morning, I heard Harry crying on the monitor, which pretty much never happens. P, of course, didn't move. So I got up and went to check on him. When I opened the door, it was like the last scene of season 4 of Dexter, but with vomit instead of blood. It covered every inch of his crib sheet. It was matted into his hair. And he was just sitting in it in his sleep sack, clutching his vomit-covered blankie, sobbing. Poor thing. So we all stayed home. And I didn't get a day of rest or productivity. Instead, I spent yet another hour crying from exhaustion and frustration and a sense of futility and just being *done* (after which I did pass out for an hour in a crumpled heap on the couch while P entertained Harry). Oh, and I got bitchy messages all day from work people wondering where I was (all of which I ignored), plus some nice ones from people who were worried (some of which I inadvertently ignored as well in my effort to ignore the others).

I hate being sick. I hate my job. I hate being sick and having a stressful week at the same time. And I hate it even more when pregnant and tired. And I hate that I received no thanks, no acknowledgment that I spent my day finalizing a brief while vomiting into my trash can, and that I did so while pregnant. Fuck you, job. FUCK YOU.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers

Leftover time!
  • Harry's 18 month appointment was yesterday. I think their scale was off (does it affect the scale reading if the child just doesn't feel like sitting on the scale and therefore sits on the very edge?), as there's no way he gained 4 pounds in the months since he was there for his ear infection. Our home scale suggested he had gained more like 1.5 pounds, which seems more reasonable.
  • In preparation for being asked follow-up questions regarding his language development, we made a list of the words he knows. It turns out, he knows (and uses with some regularity) 52 words (I thought it was 51 but forgot blocks)
  • So that I don't forget, those words are: mama, dada, dog, book, kitty cat ("kee-ca") (we call that animal "cat", so I have no idea where that came from), sea star, bubble, phone ("pone" -- he has moved past "bau"), car, truck ("kuck"), cow, moo ("boo"), quack, duck, baa (sheep sound), maa (goat sound), frog, outside ("a-side"), cup, ball, apple (refers to a variety of fruits), broccoli ("brocs" or "brocca"), hot dog, keys, cheese ("kees," though he thinks it means camera), eye, ear, hat, boots, black beans ("blacks"), uh-oh, no, cracker ("crack"), cookie (but usually refers to a cereal bar), hi, bye, more ("moe"), bird, spoon ("poon"), bus, owl, moon, bath, boat, up, down, clock ("cock" -- awesome, refers to analog clocks and watches), blocks, and five proper names -- Elmo and BooBoo, plus the names of three kids from daycare. He seemed to add nose yesterday as well.
  • If you ask him to show you your ear/eye/nose, he is quite adept as showing it. He can also name it if you point to it and ask what it is. Ask him to show you his ear/eye/nose, though, and he points to his ear. Every. Time. The doctor thought it was pretty funny.
  • Heartburn is coming back with a vengeance. I am starting to dread the late afternoon/early evening, as the heartburn comes on hard and fast and does not seem in any way connected to anything I eat or drink.
  • I am very much mentally done with work. I just don't want to be here anymore, both in the I'm-ready-for-leave-to-begin way and in the I-don't-want-to-come-back-post-leave way. I know I need to start planning for what I will do next, but am intimidated by the prospect.
  • P and I try always to be watching one TV show on Netflix, in addition to movie selections. We are now fully caught up on Dexter and are not sure what to watch next. We have a ton of shows (and movies) in our queue (are we the only people to have discovered that there's a maximum number of items you can have in your queue at once?), but we haven't picked anything definitive yet. Any suggestions? It needs to be something that would appeal to both of us (and that I can get him to at least try -- his tastes are more diverse than he gives himself credit for). Past winners have included: The Wire, Dexter, Alias and the Sopranos. We liked the first couple seasons of Nip/Tuck, then slogged through the rest. Neither one of us really got into Rescue Me, though we did abandon after only a few episodes. For a small sampler of current shows, we both love Lost, the Office and How I Met Your Mother and enjoy CSI (Las Vegas and New York, but NOT Miami), Numb3rs and NCIS. Possibilities (i.e. items in our queue) include: Flight of the Conchords, The Shield, Friday Night Lights (though P has voted no on that one in the past) and Weeds (we watched the first season when it was on and liked it but would need to start over since it's been a while). I would like to watch Brothers and Sisters, but P says no. Suggestions? Clearly this could have been a post :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers

  1. When I go places (e.g., the office cafeteria) where employees are forced to wear nametags, I feel as though calling them by their first name assumes a strange degree of familiarity with which I am not wholly comfortable, especially since I know it's not their choice to have me know their name. But then I feel like ignoring their nametag is rude, like I don't care that they have a name.
  2. After having no separation issues as an infant, Harry has cried each of the last two days when dropped at daycare. He's fine by the time we get outside (we can see him in the window), but it breaks my heart anyway.
  3. My degree of forgetfulness/absentmindedness is astonishing. If I was really busy at work, I could excuse it, but I'm not. I made my secretary scan the same document three times -- each time she sent me the scan, I saw some other section I'd forgotten to sign, signed it, and had her rescan. She must think I'm an idiot.
  4. Someone bought our friends their highchairs. Not the highest priority items, but it shows that people are in fact still shopping and using the registry when doing so.
  5. Bob Duallie v. Bumbleride Indie Twin? Because of the huge hills and crappy sidewalks in our neighborhood, we need the air tires, which limits our options when it comes to double strollers. And the reviews I've read of the Baby Jogger carseat attachment are very discouraging. Leaving us with those two options, for the most part. We're still hoping to find one or the other used, but may otherwise be hoping for sales and/or coupons.
  6. GD screen coming up on Tuesday. I really hope I don't have the beetus. I enjoy ice cream and frozen yogurt too much.
  7. On the subject of leftovers, we didn't do a real grocery trip this week, instead only buying what we needed for Harry, figuring we'd eat the leftover baked ziti, chicken noodle casserole, and Chinese food we had in the fridge this week. Except now we're low on leftovers. What the heck are we going to have for dinner?

Go visit Danifred to sample some more leftovers.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


When attending a shower for a friend, do you generally shop on or off the registry?

I ask because I am a registry person, especially so for babies (in contrast with bridal showers, where I will occasionally go off-registry). My feeling is that the person best knows what they need when it comes to baby items, and I want to be sure they have those things. And I'll go off registry occasionally with a bridal shower because, unless you're just graduating from college, one or both of you probably has pots and pans and dishes and utensils, and you can probably get by a little longer without a gravy boat to match your china pattern, but, when it comes to a baby shower, you probably don't have a spare infant seat. And they won't let you leave the hospital without one. I will sometimes also get a cute clothing item or a blankie or a toy or a book, but I tend to have my main gift(s) be from the baby registry.

This is on my mind because our friends who are expecting twins in June have their shower coming up this weekend. They don't have a ton of cash lying around and are expecting to have two additional people join their household in a few months, so they need a lot of stuff. They kept their registry fairly minimalist in order to ensure people gave them the things they really needed -- carseats, stroller, monitor, etc. I was worried there wouldn't be enough on it, that it would be cleaned out by a week or two before the shower.

Yet, the shower is this weekend, but the vast majority of registry items remain unpurchased. The vast majority. Including basics (at a range of prices) like the baby monitor, crib sheets, changing pad, bathtub, hooded towels, sleep sacks. (Thankfully, the carseats and stroller have been purchased, as have some less-necessary/easy-to-buy-used items (like an exersaucer) that they can exchange if needed.) When BRU was having its big sale over Presidents Day weekend, I even sent an email out to the email list that the shower hostess had used to send a save the date to let them know about the sale and offer to share some coupons I had, but mainly I sent it to remind people that they are registered there. But only five more items have been purchased in the intervening two weeks.

For some reason, this is really bothering me. I am hoping that a lot of their friends/family are real last minute shoppers who will do their shopping Saturday morning in the hours before the shower, or that some of their relatives will give them cash, but I'm not holding my breath. Do other people not shop off registries? Am I the weird one here?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Morning Odds and Ends :)

I lack the time or energy to post a full post, but have some things I feel I need to put out there so as not to forget them.
  1. Ten years ago today, P and I went on our first date. We were seated in the worst seat in the restaurant -- right next to the door of the kitchen. If nothing else had been, that itself would have been memorable. That said, I don't think either one of us could possibly have anticipated where it would lead. But here we are, ten years later. I love you, P!
  2. When Harry was still coughing last Monday and hadn't eaten more than a couple of real meals in weeks, P took him to the doctor. Despite not having had a fever (except one day the week before) and not having had any disruptions to his sleep, and not acting in pain (aside from the not eating), it turned out he had an ear infection. So he went on antibiotics.
  3. Since then, the cough has gone away.
  4. Yesterday, though, was the first day he really seemed to be back to normal. For breakfast, he ate two bowls of cheerios and a cup of pineapple. For lunch, a grilled cheese and grapes. For snack, graham crackers, a few goldfish, and part of a peppermint patty (yeah, he had candy for a snack -- sue me). And dinner was a veggie dog, kidney beans, more pineapple, and mandarin oranges. For weeks, all he's been willing to eat is goldfish, graham crackers, and fruits and veggies. I made a chicken noodle casserole, and he picked out the mushrooms and broccoli and ate them and left the rest behind. I realize a lot of parents would be thrilled if this were their problem with their kids' eating habits, but it's disconcerting when your child only consumes 100-200 calories a day -- they can only eat so much broccoli. Also, the usual suggestions don't work for combatting this problem, since you can't really hide chicken in a blueberry or grains in a mushroom.
  5. Harry's language has really exploded over the past month or so. He finally says both mama and dada, along with a ton of other new words, many of which are quite weird. For example, he can name the "sea star" on his high chair (and also likes to point out all the "bubbles"). And he's quite fond of "backhoes." He says "cheese!" for the camera. He asks for "books" in general and some by name (or parts thereof). And he knows certain parts of books by sight or by anticipation -- he knows what nine dogs do on a moonlit night, and when the gorilla gets caught in the bed by Mrs. Zookeeper, he says "uh-oh" then he does a funny laugh (a heh-heh) in response to the gorilla's grin on the next page (he also snores when the mouse wishes the gorilla goodnight at the end). He says "bu-bye" and waves even if no one is going anywhere. And he gets very frustrated when he wants to go "ow-sye" but it's cold and he isn't wearing a coat. He decided that one of the cats at my in-laws will be "kitty" and the other "cat." (Also called kitty was the dead possum at the far end of our street -- I hope someone calls animal control. If it's still there tomorrow, I'm calling, whether P thinks it's our responsibility or not (we live at the start of a dead end-- the "kitty" is in the dead end part, in front of someone else's house).) I think we can put to rest the overly-cautious-pedi's concerns regarding speech delay.
  6. I wonder whether the language explosition is purely developmental or whether moving him to a different daycare two days a week played a role. I think the other kids play with/talk to him more at his new place, and I think he engages in more of the group activities there rather than wandering off to play with trucks. That, however, is another post entirely.
  7. Last night during Harry's bath, Harry and P were singing Old MacDonald. Harry was actually singing the E-I-E-I-O part, as well as naming the occasional animal (his choice is pretty much always duck) and saying the sound of most of the animals Old MacDonald had on that farm. Of course, he didn't want to stop singing for bedtime, but it was pretty darn adorable. He has sang before, but it's pretty much been limited to the "quack, quack, quack" part of Six Little Ducks.
  8. Twenty-seven weeks tomorrow. That seems crazy. I can't believe it's March.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers

I've been a horrific, absentee blogger for ages and hope jumping in with Danifred and company will help get me out of this rut.
  • Thanks for all the suggestions on the sippy cup dilemma. We tried a lot of them. Collectively, they worked. Spitting stopped. Hooray! Now we just need to deal with the depositing of food over the side of the tray (soooo glad we have a dog).
  • Many people have posted on the subject of double strollers, and we have read those posts and comments and have gotten tons of advice from people IRL and on Facebook, but I'm still overwhelmed by having to think about it. We need something that we will be able to push without great difficulty up hills and over rough terrain (our neighborhood is hilly and has crappy sidewalks). But I also want something that I can snap an infant seat into. And Harry will be too young for a jumpseat. We end up with a bunch of expensive choices. And nothing good seems to come up on Craigslist around here. I've been thinking about biting the bullet and buying the Duallie using the 20% off coupon I just got from BRU (which I think can be used on the Bob). But I'm having paralysis issues.
  • I hate the Dominos "puffery" ad because it's weird and makes no sense (I'm tempted to drone on about this, but no one cares). I also hate that ad because it makes me want pizza.
  • I think Harry has been sick since late August. It's been one cold or another, one after another, with a stomach bug throw in for good measure. The doctor said as long as he gets better between, it's fine. But his most recent "better" stints have been 2-4 days each. Is that really better?
  • Work was completely crazy in January, but now I'm back to having nothing to do. I've been trying to take advantage of the time, though, doing a little genealogy work, which I've been neglecting for a long time, and trying to relax a bit. I'm guessing I'll get fired at my review in May in the days leading up to maternity leave. Awesome.
  • With Harry, my placenta was in the front, so I didn't feel much for a long time. This time, it's in the back, and this child is crazy active. What is going on in there?
  • All of a sudden, Harry has a lot to say. I'm just not always sure what it is.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

At My Spit's End

I can't take it anymore. I feel like I spend half my day handing Harry his cup, watching him spit, saying no, wrestling the cup from his hands, and wiping milk off everything in sight. It's gotten to where he asks for his cup, then starts raspberrying before I even hand it to him. It has been MONTHS now. And I have no idea what to do anymore.

When I have asked folks for advice, they always tell me to say no and take it away, which is what we've been doing with no success. Or they say that it means he isn't really thirsty, except that he is begging for his cup and cries and cries when it is taken away. Or that he is testing us to be sure we'll be consistent in our response, except that we have been consistent for months and he hasn't stopped. (And I feel like the harder we try (including prohibiting raspberries when not drinking), the worse it gets (fifteen minutes of non-stop raspberries).) Or that he'll outgrow it -- when? when he's 40? Months, people, it's been months. Someone must have experience dealing with this successfully after the aforementioned efforts have failed. Please help!

Honestly, I feel like we are reliving the biting-while-nursing issue (which never got resolved), but in a way that is thankfully far less painful to me physically but which is bringing up some old emotional wounds.